How to Become a Professional Writer

How to Become a Professional Writer


If you’re interested in pursuing a career in writing, there are some steps you’ll need to take to make it a reality. The first, of course, is honing your craft. That said, what kinds of writing careers are out there? Can you make any real money just by writing? And what kinds of jobs are available for professional writers? Today we’ll look into how to become a professional writer.

Start by Writing

We’ll just assume that if you’re interested in writing for a living that you feel as though you can write well. Well enough, in fact, that someone would actually pay to read the stuff you write. Maybe that’s even true! However, the first thing you’re going to need to do is hone your craft. You should open your word processor and write every single day. That’s not the sort of thing that you can shirk or avoid: writers write. It’s in the name.

Take Classes

Going back to college for an online degree is a great option to get professional training to become a career writer. Whether you are interested in journalism or creative writing, there are plenty of online programs to choose from.

Get a Day Job. No, Seriously

Secondly, you’ll need to get some money coming in. Creating articles for websites is a good place to start, and there are tons of websites that need content created. Most people think of writing professionally as strictly writing novels and having them published, but you have to start somewhere. Simply plying your trade for a blog or some other ongoing, paid position is a great way to write every day and still pay the bills.

Similar positions would include copy writing for a company or writing manuals or instructions for products. These jobs aren’t glamorous, and they won’t win you any fame, but they’ll keep the lights on.

Stay Positive

Stay positive and keep writing. If you’ve got an idea for a book you want to write, write it. You can worry about the specifics of editing and perfecting later. For now, you just need to put word to paper. Once you’ve got a complete story in front of you, go back in and do all that fancy stuff that makes it look nice. Add foreshadowing, make some interesting relationships between characters, pepper a mystery in there somewhere.

But above all else, stay positive while you do this. Writing can be a difficult path, but if it’s your passion you should stick with it. As long as you have a day job that doesn’t exhaust you, you’ll have plenty of time and energy to devote to your craft. Once you’re published and can support yourself on your book sales, you can divert your energy to writing your own content full-time. But in the meantime, you need to keep your chin up and not lose sight of your passion.

Average Salary

Professional writers have a far-ranging average salary depending on a large number of factors. Many who write for websites or companies make an average of around $38,000 a year. Published novelists could make a bit more if they are modestly successful, or tremendously more if they make it big. However, realistic expectations would put the average novelist’s salary around $65,000.